True Wild Life | Pheasant | The pheasant is a large sized bird that is found in fields and on the edge of woodland particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. Pheasants are best known for the brightly coloured feathers (in a range of colours) and the long tail feathers of the male pheasant. The pheasant is thought to be native to Asia, with some relation to the wild chickens that are found in the jungles particularly in India. Today the pheasant can be found all over the world and there are more than 35 different species of pheasant today.
Pheasants are large sized birds and some pheasant individuals can grow to nearly 90cm in length. The male pheasant is generally larger than the female pheasant, sometimes double the size. The male pheasant has an array of brightly coloured feathers but the female pheasant (known as a hen) is relatively dull in comparison and tends to be brown or grey in colour. Pheasants are omnivorous birds and therefore pheasants eat both plant and animal matter. Pheasants feed on seeds, berries and fruits, insects, worms and occasionally small reptiles such as lizards.
Pheasants have a number of natural predators in the wild, although the human tends to be the most common predator of the pheasant as they are hunted for their meat and feathers. Other animals that prey on the pheasant are foxes, dogs and wildcats along with smaller species of animal that eat the eggs of the pheasant. The female pheasant lays between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch which are generally large in size. The pheasant eggs hatch after an incubation period of just under a month. The pheasant chicks are nursed and fed by the mother pheasant until they fly away from the nest when they are just a few weeks old.
Although the pheasant is not at immediate risk from extinction, the pheasant populations are declining mainly due to loss of habitat and over-hunting. It is thought that around 80% of the pheasants hunted every year are only a few months old and are therefore unlikely to have mated with another pheasant.